In this issue of the Archives (page 945), Proctor et al report additional data that strongly support the proposition that polyamines may be of importance in the pathophysiology of psoriasis. Since polyamines play a key role in cell proliferation, a potentially productive approach to psoriasis therapy may be the inhibition of polyamine production in lesions.
Interest in polyamine research is very recent. The biochemistry texts used by most of us in medical school did not mention polyamines. However, lack of familiarity should not be a deterrent to an appreciation of this exciting new field. The polyamines are low molecular weight organic amines. Putrescine, a simple diamine, is the precursor of the two polyamines, spermidine and spermine. The first polyamine was discovered in 1678 by Antony van Leeuwenhoek, who used his primitive microscope to observe the crystallization of spermine phosphate in human semen. We now know that polyamines are involved in
Voorhees JJ. Polyamines and Psoriasis. Arch Dermatol. 1979;115(8):943–944. doi:10.1001/archderm.1979.04010080007011